I confess to virtual total ignorance about the gluten-free eating going on. I only know that it is very trendy. Tufts did a nice job here on explaining it and I thought I would pass it on to you.
The gluten-free foods market has exploded in the past decade. It is important for people following or considering a gluten-free diet to know the facts.
Gluten Sensitivities: Gluten refers to a family of proteins found in wheat, barley, rye, and triticale. Gluten proteins give dough its elasticity. For the approximately one percent of the population with celiac disease (a genetically-based autoimmune reaction to gluten) following a gluten-free diet is essential to health.
Data suggest that approximately ten percent of people feel they have sensitivity to wheat, even though they do not have celiac disease. “There is a condition known as non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS),” says John Leung, MD, an allergist, gastroenterologist, and director of the Center for Food Related Diseases at Tufts Medical Center. “Patients present with no evidence of celiac disease in blood tests or biopsies, but they report their gastrointestinal symptoms improve with avoidance of gluten.” However, a large review of studies surprisingly found that most people who follow a gluten-free diet for self-diagnosed NCGS do not actually develop any symptoms after eating gluten. “A recent study published in the journal Gastroenterology provides evidence that many people who think they have gluten sensitivity may actually be reacting to fructans, short-chain carbohydrates found in wheat, onions, and a number of other plant foods,” says Leung. Continue reading